A House judiciary subcommittee held an all-male hearing yesterday on restricting women’s access to abortion.
Not one female member of Congress is on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice which is considering whether to advance the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7). Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who heads the subcommittee, denied a request from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to testify at the hearing. Norton, who represents the District of Columbia which would be specially affected by H.R. 7, had submitted the request to Franks ahead of the hearing. Subsequently, at the hearing, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) made a motion for Norton to testify. That motion was also denied.
H.R. 7, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), would restrict abortion access across the United States by prohibiting federal money from covering abortions or providing funding for any health benefit plans that cover abortion, thereby banning insurance coverage for abortion in Affordable Care Act state-level insurance marketplaces. The Act would also affect private insurance coverage by making small businesses pay more for health benefits if they choose to offer insurance plans that cover abortions. In addition, the Act would change the tax code to eliminate medical-expense deductions for abortion care, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
In D.C. the Act would prohibit the District from spending its own local funds on abortion care for low-income women. In a statement released after the hearing, Norton wrote that the subcommittee “has been obsessed with dual objectives – infringing on the District’s right to self-government and interfering with the reproductive health of the District’s female residents, particularly its low-income women.”
“Less than ten days into the New Year and House Republicans are at it again – renewing their assault on women’s reproductive rights,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA). “The American people are waiting for the House to act on critical national issues like unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, and passing comprehensive immigration reform, but Republicans cannot move past their backward obsession with rolling back women’s health care rights.”
Media Resources: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton Press Release 1/9/14, 1/8/14; Rep. Nancy Pelosi Press Release 1/9/14; RH Reality Check 1/9/14; Think Progress 1/9/14;